“When I first saw Brandon, I nonchalantly told my sisters that I was going to marry him,” bride Leah recalls. “I based this on the fact that I told God I wanted a tall, cute guy, and voilå, there he was! (Laughs)” See their blissful engagement shoot here.
“It sort of felt like a dream,” admits Leah. “Growing up I dreamed of this day and now that it was finally here it felt surreal. I wasn't a bridesmaid. I wasn't a guest. I was the bride! It was a beautiful amazing feeling knowing that this was finally my day.”
"Martin is the best man for me because he balances me out," says Krystal. "He is my other half. When I’m too serious or stuck obsessing over something, he brings me back to center. That’s an important quality to have in a life partner. He's someone who brings out the best version of me." Their Love Jones inspired photo shoot was one of our all-time favorites.
“We worked very hard over the two year engagement to make sure that the wedding would be exactly what we wanted,” says Krystal. “Even though it was a destination wedding, we were still able to put our touch on it so that it still had a music theme that represented us.”
“I was always extremely attracted to Makeda because of her brains and beauty,” says Eric. “But I ultimately fell in love with her because she wanted the same things in life that I did. We shared such a similar vision for the future that I felt like it was destined for us to be together.” See their private-school themed engagement shoot!
“It was amazing to be a bride,” says Makeda. “The best part about it was having so many people I love in one place. I was happy that I chose to do a domestic destination wedding because it was the best of both worlds. It encouraged everyone to spend an extended amount of time together (like a family vacation) but was still convenient enough to get a good amount of people to attend. I was so humbled by all of the love I experienced that weekend.”
"I love that my future husband is sexy, intelligent and a man of God," excited bride Ashley told us back when she was counting down the days until she met Phillip at the altar. "He's the total package!"
Newlyweds Ashley and Phillip made it official on October 25th in Sugar Hill, Georgia. “The entire day felt surreal,” she recalls. “I had a permanent smile on my face from the moment I woke up. Looking at myself for the first time in the mirror with my dress and veil on I felt my ‘aha’ moment. It’s exactly what you dream of as a little girl. It was a day filled with sheer unadulterated joy.”
"God has been in a blessing season in my life since we met and she has truly been heaven sent," Carlton told us back when ESSENCE featured their dreamy engagement photos. We just fell in love with this couple's love for one another.
“Being a bride was the greatest feeling I have ever experienced thus far in life,” says Tomesha. “My wedding day was all about Carlton and I.” Just look at that lovely bridal party! The happy couple tied the knot on May 24th of this year.
The happy couple tied the knot on the Fourth of July. Their wedding photos were absolutely stunning. “It felt amazing to be a bride,” says Brittany. “I think the best way to describe it would be a birthday party times a million. To feel so much love in the room and be so supported by so many people all at once was overwhelming. I was filled with that love for weeks after, and I still am.”
“I definitely felt an instant connection, everything about Jarrell and ‘us’ was so different from anything I’d ever experienced before,” says Chanell. “He was one of the first people that I was so easily able to let in and that wasn’t something that ever happened to me before. We had this chemistry that was unmatched by anyone.” Their engagement photos were oh-so-sweet!
The couple chose to wed in Paris, a romantic choice. “It was more than I ever could imagine it to be,” says the bride. “When we decided to get married in Paris we wanted it to be a special experience for us and our family. When planning we knew that we wanted to be married near the Seine River with a beautiful garden as the backdrop. Little did we know that the Norte Dame would be where we had our ceremony. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get married in Square Jean-XXII, the garden behind the Notre Dame, because typically weddings aren’t held there, but we were able to. The day was perfect and beautiful.”
Even though they met back in high school, Andy knew that Emily was someone special right away and he wasn't going to let her out of his sight. Their Philadelphia engagement photos instantly made us smile.
“The wedding was better than I could have ever expected,” says Emily. “It was a destination wedding (in Punta Cana) so it felt like we were having a mini-vacation with all of our closest friends and family. My favorite part of the big day was seeing my husband shed a few tears as I walked down the aisle.”
“When we met and I saw just how she took care of everyone, I saw that her heart was even more beautiful then she is and that is what I love about her,” says handsome groom Emem of his future bride Erica back when we featured them. This D.C. couple's photos were the absolute cutest!
“My favorite part of the day was right before my dad came to get me to walk me down the aisle, just after all the bridesmaids left out and I was in the room all by myself,” says Erica. “I said a prayer and thanked God for this day and His grace. I asked that His presence anoint our entire day and that is exactly what the day felt like, a true blessing.”
Jasmine and Marcellus just couldn't get enough of each other after meeting for the first time at a party. After dating for three years, the couple couldn't wait to call themselves husband and wife forever.
“Being a bride was unlike anything I could've imagined,” shares Jasmine, who married her love in January in the Dominican Republic. “No matter how many weddings you attend, or movies you watch, there's nothing like putting on that dress and getting ready with your loved ones before walking down the aisle to say ‘I Do.’”
“The wedding day felt surreal,” says Kendra. “After months of planning, I couldn't believe it had finally arrived. I was happy, nervous and excited all at the same time. I remember right before making my grand entrance, the butterflies and nervousness went away and I became extremely calm. At that point, I was just ready to marry my husband and enjoy our big day.”
“We connected and I could not deny what was going on there,” says Regina. “We share the same values, outlook on life, ambition and laughter. It was a perfect situation to find.” See their romantic park shoot here.
“My day was exactly how I imagined it and was everything I hoped it would be,” says Regina. “It was southern charm, it was down home, I was surrounded by family and friends and I danced until the stars filled the sky. Most importantly, I married the man of my dreams. I could not ask for a better wedding day than that.”
"When I first met Tiffany while standing in line for a party, she asked for a piece of gum," says Phillip. "I turned to my friend and told him, 'I just gave my future wife my last piece,' because he'd asked for some as well, not really knowing what God had in front of me at the time." How cute are they?
“My wedding day was the best day of my life,” says the bride. “It was truly the royal fairytale that I dreamed of. From the moment I awoke to a text from my groom saying, ‘Today is going to be a beautiful day. Can't wait to marry you my love...I'll meet you at the altar,’ I knew it was going to be a day that I would never forget. The preparation process, ceremony, reception and the horse and carriage send off were everything I envisioned. I will cherish those memories forever.”
“My favorite part of the day was the actual wedding ceremony,” says Yondi. “A mentor of mine who is a judge in Chicago married us. We had a moment of silence for those who played roles in both of our lives but who did not live to see our wedding day. And we had fun. During the ceremony we laughed a lot and really behaved as ourselves. It was just how it felt like it should be, us being best friends having a good time.”
When Crystal and Omar first met in college, he says it was their instant connection that really took their relationship to the next level. "I love our chemistry," he says. "I'm so attracted to her physically and mentally, and most of all, I love her drive to be better individually and to make this family better than what we are." See their adorable engagement session here.
“I had worries about everything coming together, but on the day of everything fell in place,” says Crystal. “It stopped raining and the sun came out, my bridesmaids got along and everything just flowed nicely. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
"The sweetest thing he's ever done for me is open his heart to me," says Alicea. "When we met, he was a little guarded and afraid to reveal his true emotions. Now I think it's the sweetest thing when we can have a conversation or a special moment and he's comfortable enough to let his true feelings show."
Alicea and Justin tied the knot on May 24, 2014. “Our wedding day was more than I dreamed it would be,” says the bride. “The ceremony was beautiful and reciting our vows was absolutely unforgettable. Both of us wanted our reception to be a big party and our wish was granted. We were surrounded with lots of food, laughter, and family and friends and everyone had a great time dancing the night away.”
On August 3, 2014, Kira married Eric, the love of her life in a gorgeous and elegant ceremony in Maryland. “The wedding day felt surreal,” says Kendra. “After months of planning, I couldn't believe it had finally arrived. I was happy, nervous and excited all at the same time. I remember right before making my grand entrance, the butterflies and nervousness went away and I became extremely calm. At that point, I was just ready to marry my husband and enjoy our big day.”
In August Kacey and Julian made it official. “My favorite part of our big day was Julian and Zoë's (our daughter) father-daughter dance,” shares the bride. “It started as a nice dance to ‘My Girl/ by The Temptations and switched to a full on party to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell. At that point, all of these kids bum-rushed the dance floor jumping around and break dancing on the floor. It was the cutest thing ever!”
“We wrote vows to one another and my favorite part of the day was hearing Darren’s expressions of love and marriage vows,” says Leigh Ann. “They were beautifully written and while hearing them I became very emotional. Those words he wrote are ones that I will hold onto dearly for the rest of my life.”
Renee couldn't be any happier that Demetrius agreed with her the first time she told him she loved him. "I said I love you first, and he then responded with the same reply," she boasts. See their sweet "date day" themed engagement photos here.
Photo by Jaylene Debenedicts
Renee and Demetrius
The couple threw a surprise wedding and it was a hit with friends and family! “For me being a bride was a rewarding experience,” says Renee. “It was the day that I knew God would be extra proud. My goal in getting married was to first do what was pleasing to God. Because my wedding was so untraditional, I really was not nervous, well, not until I saw the face of my handsome husband. Leading up until the final moment I was very calm and excited."